Powdermill Nature Reserve


Fully cognizant of its responsibilities for environmental stewardship, Powdermill Nature Reserve initiated a significant expansion and upgrade including technologies that are energy efficient, derived from renewable resources, and effectively manage wastewater. The building itself serves as an educational exhibit of environmentally sensitive design and construction. Powdermill takes pride in keeping the Reserve in its most natural state, and one approach to reaching this goal is by using sustainable development techniques. In this way, effects on the surrounding environment are taken into account and the most environmentally friendly methods are used.

Online Tours of our Sustainable Practices 

Enjoy these online tours highlighting some of the approaches used in Powdermill's buildings and programs:

Other Online Resources 

  • bakerDownload a brochure about the marsh machine, an organic system which sustainably manages wastewater using completely natural processes. An excellent video explaining the marsh machine is also available on the Greenlife Pennsylvania website: http://greenlifepenn.org/?p=83 
  • Learn more about Powdermill's partnership with Cavcon Construction. Cavcon worked with the architects and designers in building the new headquarters, to the extent that the project received a Silver rating from the US Green Building Council. As an example of their commitment to green construction, Cavcon was able to divert more than 85 percent of their construction waste through recycling, using leftover masonry for fill, grinding up wasted gypsum for local farmers to use on their fields, and recycling all wasted wood.
  • Another exciting component of the nature center expansion is the 2007 Solar Decathlon house, which combines the talents of students from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. After the competition in Washington, DC, the solar house was transported to Powdermill where it serves as an exhibit of the latest in “green” architecture and engineering.
  • In 2006, Powdermill received a grant to establish a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) lab.